Samsung loses Dutch case, denied injunction against Apple over 3G patents

“Regardless of whatever Google’s CEO may say in an effort to assuage investors’ concerns, this week may very well go down in history as the one in which Apple’s intellectual property enforcement against Android reached a tipping point in Cupertino’s favor,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “Apple has not yet dealt a fatal blow to Samsung, but it’s on an impressive winning streak and making headway at a breathtaking rate. I expected Apple to do well, but the results have exceeded even my expectations.”

Just this week:

• Apple won its third preliminary injunction against Samsung in Australia (following similar, earlier decisions by courts in Germany, the Netherlands),

• a federal judge in California expressed her belief that Samsung infringes some design patents held by Apple (even if doubts about the validity of those rights have to be addressed by Apple in order to win a US-wide preliminary injunction), and

• today the Rechtbank ‘s-Gravenhage (a Dutch court based in the city of The Hague) made it clear that Samsung won’t be able to win an injunction against Apple’s products based on standards-essential, FRAND-committed patents. As a result, Samsung’s motions for preliminary injunctions against the iPhone 4S in France and Italy are also very likely to be denied, though the courts in those countries have the right to take different decisions than their Dutch counterpart.

Mueller writes, “Apple still has miles to go until Samsung will really have no other choice than to back down and agree to a settlement on Apple’s terms. Such a settlement would likely force Samsung to redesign its products, to remove certain functionality, and to pay royalties for those patents Apple is willing to license at all (without a legal obligation).”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

Related article:
Judge: Can you tell me which is iPad and which is yours? Samsung lawyer: ‘Not at this distance your honor’ – October 14, 2011

20 Comments

  1. Apple has a massive amount of cash. It can afford best patent attorneys in the world. And apparently, this is what they are doing — using best patent lawyers in every jurisdiction where they have suits. Samsung can’t afford to invest as much in this fight; Android doesn’t bring in that much revenue in order to justify it, not even within Samsung Electronics division. Other players have even less money, which leaves Google itself. So far, the two have been only dancing around each other, although Google’s acquisition of Motorola brought some ongoing litigation against Apple.

    In many of these complex patent lawsuits, the likelihood of winning is often directly proportional to the amount of money spend on legal defense; not so much on the actual legal issues at hand. In Apple’s case, they’re covered on both ends.

    Things certainly aren’t looking good for anyone (other than Apple).

      1. The disputed image came from Samsung’s own promotional material, and this was widely reported later on. Unfortunately, the only bit of information that got traction was what that Dutch (android-biased) publication reported, and how it was spun.

        1. Irrespective of who provided the image, Apple lawyers, at this level, are expected to more professional than this. Particularly when they made the same mistake again a few weeks later. Point is, a more diligent effort is expected, and even if they use Samsung’s sourced material. They probably should have pointed it out, during their own submissions, that the proportions on the Galaxy tab images provided by Samsung were found to be different than the expected actual ratio. That’s professionalism.

          1. You don’t know what you’re talking about. The entire point of the litigation against Samsung is that Samsung is copying Apple’s iPad to such an extent that consumers can’t tell the difference. That includes Samsung’s images produced by Samsung and used by Samsung to promote its own products as being nearly identical to Apple’s iPad.

            Apple’s attorneys don’t want to point out that Samsung’s images are out of proportion. In fact, Apple’s legal strategy is using this to its advantage: “See Judge, Samsung even alters its images in its promotional materials to make people think their Galaxy Tab is identical to our iPad.”

            Apple’s lawyers are being perfectly professional in submitting to the court that Samsung is pulling out all the stops to make its products look like iPads, even so much as altering images.

            1. I’m not sure I followed or agreed with you entirely on your argument, but I’ll grant you that I don’t know much (or anything) about legal issues. If you are claiming that you actually know/understand the legal merits of these actions by the Apple legal team, I’m content to accept then that I was wrong.

      2. If Apple’s case is weak, why dredge up this one trivial mistake that, as @Predrag points out, may have been taken directly Samsung’s own promotional material?

    1. “In many of these complex patent lawsuits, the likelihood of winning is often directly proportional to the amount of money spend on legal defense; not so much on the actual legal issues at hand.”

      This is only true when one Party doesn’t have the resources to continue, AND the stakes aren’t high enough to warrant risking what is available.

      In Samsung’s case they have far more than is necessary to fight to the bitter end (although that might not be the best business decision). What’s at stake is far more than the $200/$300 million this litigation may cost. We’re talking about a crucial change in Samsung’s consumer products business model (fast copier).

      1. In Samsung’s case they have far more than is necessary to fight to the bitter end ”

        First post that I have seen where MDN reader has a clue.

        Samsung is far bigger than Apple in global influence and resources. Since they are tight with the S Korean Government they also have an edge there too.

        S Korea has just gotten most favorable free trade status granted by Obama’s government and Congress allegedly to allow American slaves, I mean workers, to build S Korean goods in return for allowing unrestricted free access to American markets.

        IMHO any injunction against Samsung Apple realistically hoped for died last Thursday. No way will the US Government (i.e. Obama) allow Apple to upset the ‘Apple Cart’.

    2. And Samsung is some itsy-bitsy little electronics company that can’t afford decent intellectual property attorneys to litigate on its behalf? Please, spare us. Your post is absurd. Samsung is the world’s largest electronics manufacturer and can more than pay for adequate representation. It doesn’t need your inaccurate posturing to paint it as the “little guy.”

    3. Oh, please, spare me — as if Samsung is an itsy-bitsy company that can’t afford decent intellectual property attorneys to litigate on its behalf? Samsung is the largest electronics company in the world. Your attempts to paint them as the underdog are laughable. They don’t need your assistance in painting them (inaccurately) as the little guy.

  2. Shamsung is getting the shellacking they so richly deserve. (I would suggest some flogging and tar and feathering as well.) Maybe it will finally sink not to steal IP’s and photocopy nearly every aspect of another companies product. We need this precedent not only for Apple’s sake but even other companies. As an investor you want to see the company you invested in to keep it’s product identity and not let these also-rans try to water down the brand with an inferior product.

  3. I think the tipping point will be the US. If Apple get’s an injunction in the US, I think it’s all but over for Samsung.

    Of course an injunction is not the end of it, Apple still has to win the final case. That seems much more likely if the judge sees the infringement enough to give an injunction.

  4. Samdong, you should tell your Korean Pikmins to stop suing Apple in Korea and bring that lawyer that arranged the class-action to jail. After all…you, Samdong runs Korea, not your president.

    That is the first thing you can do to control the damage.

  5. I love what Apple is doing to protect it ‘s property . As the patent holder of a software solution, I went through the patent approval process to protect the hard work spent developing my idea. To have someone steal it with impunity would be devestating as well as unfair.

    If you believe in the Amercan dream of working hard to achieve success, then you will see Apples efforts help even a little guy like me by showing that if you steal you will not get away with it…. Because patent attorneys will be that more willing to help the little guy when the winds of fairness in the marketplace seem to be blowing in the direction of those that are right.

  6. I’ve not read where any observers have yet noticed the implications for Google of SIRI, and the information search engine attached to it: Wolfram Alpha. With SIRI you don’t have to look, see, or hear any advertising, and Google is cut out of the search, at least as I understand it.

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